Categorized as Channel Marketing, Customer Experience, Digital Fusion, Return on Investment, Social Media, Strategy

Building a Social Media Strategy that Works for Dealers at the Local Level

When it comes to a brand’s channel marketing program, social media should be a critical component of the plan to ensure you are meeting consumers where they connect with friends, their favorite brands and local businesses.  As a marketer responsible for your brand’s channel marketing program, investing in a social media program that uses original, not syndicated, content will help your dealers drive their business to new heights. 
Syndicated content has its place, but brands should beware because there’s a reason why it’s so much cheaper than investing in unique, original social content. It’s true syndicated posts bring visibility to your brand, which is important, but not at the expense of making one dealer or distributor look like every other one online.  It’s the unique qualities of each dealership selling your products that drives engagement online.  Of course, engagement on social media is what drives more business!  Increasing engagement and social following are the metrics where your partner agency should be focusing their efforts.  Plus, they’re the metrics your dealers and distributors care most about as well.  If their social presence isn’t driving more foot traffic, it’s not worth the investment.
The Value of Social Media
There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating social media as a key medium for a brand’s channel marketing program. First and foremost, social media is convenient and cost effective. Social media allows small businesses to easily amplify the voice of happy customers. Regardless of where a dealer or distributor is located, using apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram allows them to reach consumers where they are, every single day. When happy customers engage with a dealer or distributor’s social channels, they are helping generate more followers and drive new customers to brick and mortar locations.
Unlike paid advertising that requires a healthy budget and is not always a great fit for dealers or distributors, social media is less expensive and provides the ability to test different types of content instantly. For example, a dealer or distributor can test different messaging, offers and special event promotions at their location to see what drives the most engagement, without having to run an expensive A/B split advertising test. If your dealer or distributor finds something that works, they can easily boost a post with a nominal investment to attract and engage more followers.
Original Content is Key
When it comes to marketing, a brand and its channel partners are looking to invest in activities that are going to help them stand out from the crowd. If a dealer or distributor is using syndicated content on their social media channels, they are hardly distinguishing themselves. Generating original content on a regular basis drives engagement on social platforms. The more unique and tailored the content is for a dealer or distributor the better. Tailoring content for a dealer or distributor’s business drives engagement with current and potential local customers who, in turn, tend to share that content on their social channels. Examples of tailored content include posts on how a dealer or distributor is helping in their community and highlighting an employee’s accomplishments.
If consumers are going to share social content, it needs to be share-worthy. If consumers share your dealer or distributor’s content, your brand is being “localized,” improving the likelihood consumers will seek it out in the local marketplace. Once consumers pass through the doors of your dealer or distributor, they have the opportunity for an authentic and organic brand moment when purchasing your products or services.
The amount of interaction a local dealer or distributor has with their social audience helps influence consumers who are researching products and services. If a dealer or distributor is connected to their social audience and actively responding to comments, answering questions and generally engaging with consumers, it gives those consumers insights regarding what to expect during the shopping experience and following their purchase.
Every brand’s channel marketing program should include social media. That said, it’s not enough to just syndicate content and distribute that content to multiple dealers and distributors for dissemination on their social channels. By investing in original, brands are able to provide their channel partners with a cost-effective way to engage at a truly local level and help sell more products. Brands can’t do this alone. Be sure to find a digital marketing partner that understands how to deliver desired outcomes at the local level on social media.
About Channel Fusion
For nearly 20 years, Channel Fusion has provided brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. Part of our offering is Digital Fusion, a turnkey offering and dedicated team of “Fusers” who are focused exclusively on the development, delivery, management and reporting of digital marketing programs for brands’ channel partners. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver digital marketing outcomes.

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